TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
What is TOEFL?
TOEFL is the Test of English as a Foreign Language is a test that assesses the capability of an individual to understand English in an academic context. The major purpose of TOEFL test is to measure the ability of innovative speakers of English to use and understand English as it is spoken, written, and heard in an American college/university.
The TOEFL tests all four language skills that are important for effective communication: reading, listening, speaking and writing. It helps students demonstrate that they have the English skills needed for academic success. More than 5,200 colleges and universities worldwide require this test as part of your application.
The test is designed to evaluate your mastery of the English language and your ability to be successful in an English-speaking academic environment. Each year, more than half a million students take the TOEFL test, primarily for the purpose of attending graduate school. The TOEFL is also used by undergraduate institutions and by several government agencies and other organizations for professional certification.
TOEFL Test Fee
The TOEFL test fee is US$165
The candidates get the TOEFL results in 13 days after the test.
♦ TOEFL Exam Pattern ♦
The TOEFL iBT consists of four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.The entire test is about four hours long and all sections are taken on the same day.The duration of the test is 4 hours.
- The TOEFL iBT is administered via computer from a secure Internet-based testing network.
- Instructions for answering questions are given within each section. There is no computer tutorial.
- TOEFL iBT is not computer-adaptive. Each test taker receives items that cover the full range of ability.
- Test takers can take notes throughout the entire test. At the end of testing, all notes are collected and destroyed at the test center to ensure test security.
- For the Speaking section, test takers wear noise-cancelling headphones and speak into a microphone. Responses are digitally recorded and sent to ETS’s Online Scoring Network.
- For the Writing section, test takers must type their responses. The typed responses are sent to ETS’s Online Scoring Network.
- Human raters, trained and certified by ETS, rate the Speaking and Writing responses.
♦ TOEFL Reading Section ♦
The reading section assesses a student’s capability to understand texts and passages which are affiliated to a university level. A student’s basic tasks, once he/she enters a university are to read and comprehend his textbooks and other sources. The reading section fulfils this requirement and more.
It helps a student in reading and sieving the most useful information.
- Increased skills and eloquence in reading,
- Deducing the crux of the given passage
- Translate the relationship between the many ideas.
The reading section uses passages extracted from university-level textbooks which introduce a discipline or a topic. The passages can:
- Provide explanation about a topic
- Provide a point of view about a topic and supporting evidence
- A passage that is historical in nature.
Question Formats :
Simple multiple choice questions, with four options and a correct option.
Questions with four options and a single answer which requires the students to insert a sentence where it fits appropriately in the passage.
“Reading to learn” questions with more than four choices and more than one appropriate correct answer. These questions are new in the format and test the applicant’s capability to understand the organization of the passage and assess the relationship between facts and ideas in the passage. These questions require the applicants to screen information and place the text options available in into a category chart or a summary.
The summary questions carry upto 2 marks each. In these questions, a sentence is provided as a start to the summary and the rest of the portion is selected by the reader in the correct sequence.
The chart questions are up to 3 points if there are five options presented and up to 4 points when there are seven options. Partial credit is provided in this format.
- While reading the text, highlight important points, ideas, facts and other relevant information.
- Improving vocabulary can help greatly.
- For an initial idea, try skimming the passage. This means to read the headings and sub-headings in order to get a basic idea of the passage.
- If there are some unfamiliar words in the passage, don’t panic. Try guessing their meaning through contextualizing it with the rest of the passage.
♦ TOEFL Listening Section ♦
Listening section of the test measures an applicant’s capability to comprehend spoken English. In an academic setting, students are expected to listen to lectures and make sense out of those. This section helps students to achieve the same along with:
- Identify a speaker’s attitude and his/her function and purpose.
- Establish relationship between ideas present and drawing a coherent conclusion.
- Acknowledge the organization of the passage.
The lectures in the TOEFL iBT are similar to the kind of environment usually prevalent in a conventional classroom. In some of the lectures the professor does all the talking, whereas in some others he encourages interaction from the students.
Question Formats :
After the listening matter is played, applicants both see and hear the question before the answer choices are shown. There are four kinds of formats in this section:
- Traditional multiple-choice questions with four choices and a correct answer
- Multiple choice questions with more than two correct answers
- Questions where the test takers order steps or events in a process.
- Questions where objects and texts are matched to categories in a chart.
- Focus on the content. Do not pay attention to the speaker’s style or accent.
- Make notes on the important points said by the speaker.
- Stay focused and active. Don’t lose concentration.
♦ TOEFL Speaking Section ♦
This section quantifies a student’s ability to communicate effectively in a classroom. It also ensures that the students respond to questions and participates in class discussions.
As described in the test format, the speaking section consists of a total of six tasks- two independent and four integrated tasks.
As per the independent task, the students are made to express their opinions, ideas, arguments or experiences for a topic they are familiar with.
The other four integrated tasks require the applicants to make use of more than one skill. That is, firstly, they read and listen, and then they speak in response. In the process they take notes and use these notes while responding.
- Practice speaking about topics familiar to you.
- In integrated tasks, notice the tone and attitude of the speaker and try guessing his inclinations.
- Take care of your pronunciation and grammar.
- Don’t speak too fast. Be clear and audible.
- Check all your audio and video equipment’s carefully.
- Practice through sample tests and other resource material available online.
♦ TOEFL Writing Section ♦
A teacher expects his students to be fully able to express their ideas in a fluent and a well-organized manner, in an academic setting. This section tests the same, in the test-takers along with several other things.
- Planning and organizing an essay.
- Expressing your views/opinions in an organized manner
- .Use correct grammar and appropriate vocabulary to bring home your views/opinions.
- To make sure you are spelling the words right and following all the rules of punctuation.
- Increase vocabulary and practice the use of idioms.
- Concentrate on grammatical formations, spellings and punctuation.
- Organize your article in a proper manner.
♦ TOEFL FAQ’s ♦
1) What books can I buy to study for the TOEFL?
For the TOEFL, you can refer to the Barrons and Kaplan books as well as www.toefl.org.
2) Is the IELTS and the TOEFL the same?
Both TOEFL and IELTS are English proficiency tests required to be taken by all international students. Both the exams have speaking, reading, writing and listening sections. However, US universities prefer the TOEFL whereas UK universities prefer IELTS.
3) What is the cost-registration fee for the TOEFL?
The course cost and registration fee depends on your test location. Usually, the cost ranges from US$ 160 to US$ 250. For India the current cost for the TOEFL Exam is US$ 165.
4) How do I register for the TOEFL?
The registration can be done via phone, by mail or you can also register online. For detailed information on registration log onto www.toefl.org.
5) What is the Evaluation Score for the TOEFL test?
The students appearing for the test will be given scores between the ranges 0-30. There are four sections (Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking) in total and they are clubbed together to give students an overall rating out of 120. Students receive a score card with detailed feedback on the overall performance. The average score needed for most Universities is between 80 & 90.
6) How many times in a year is the TOEFL test held?
TOEFL iBT is conducted on specific dates, more than 50 times a year across multiple centers in India. There are at least 2 test dates available per month at every TOEFL test Center. Some locations, which have a high demand, conduct up to 8 tests per month.
7) Can I reappear for the test? If yes, then how many times?
Yes, one can reappear for the test if you are not satisfied with the scores. There is no limit on the number of times you can appear for the test. However you cannot take it more than once in a 12 days of your existing appointment.
8) How and when do I get my scores?
Scores are posted online approximately 13 days after the test date. Every student is provided with ID and log in using which you can check your scores online
9) What is the minimum score required to clear the TOEFL test?
The scores are evaluated on a scale of 0-30 for every skill where scores ranging between 0-14 is considered low, score between 15-21 is considered as intermediate and score between 22-30 is considered high. The TOEFL score requirement is set by the University and can vary for each University.
10) What is the validity of the test scores?
The TOEFL test score is valid for two years from the date of result declaration.
11) Can I order additional score reports?
Yes you can, for a fee. Keep in mind that your registration fee covers the cost of sending up to four official score reports to the universities, institutions or agencies you select before you test.
12) If I take the TOEFL more than once, which score will be considered by the universities?
Almost all the universities take the best score.
13) Do I need to have the TOEFL score at the time of applying to universities?
No, you do not need to have the TOEFL® score with you at the time of applying. But you are required to take the TOEFL® before the deadline of the university.
14) What is the minimum TOEFL score that I need?
For admission, one has to score over 80 for MS and undergrad programs, over 100 for PhD and MBA courses. Usually a score of 100 is required for students who are looking for Financial aid/scholarships.
15) How do I pass on my score to the college?
The universities only accept official scores sent directly by ETS. Scores to four colleges can be sent free of cost from the time of TOEFL registration to 24 hours before the test date. Subsequently, for each score report sent to a college, you would have to pay $18.